‘Golden State Killer’ arrest
Citrus Heights, Calif.
Authorities say they have a suspect in one of the most notorious unsolved cases in American history this week, after arresting a 72-year-old man they believe is the “Golden State Killer,” a serial rapist and murderer who terrorized California during the 1970s and ’80s. Joseph James DeAngelo, a former police officer, was arrested at his home in Citrus Heights, near Sacramento, and is being held without bail. Police said that they have DNA evidence that links DeAngelo to the string of attacks attributed to the Golden State Killer, also known as the East Area Rapist and the Original Night Stalker. Between 1976 and 1986, the attacker committed 12 murders, 45 rapes, and 120 residential burglaries, often methodically planning attacks on victims in their own homes. “The magnitude of this case demanded that it be solved,” said Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert. “We found the needle in the haystack, and it was right here in Sacramento.”
Waffle House shooting
After a massive search lasting nearly 34 hours, police arrested a 29-year-old man accused of killing four diners and wounding four others with an AR-15 assault rifle at a Waffle House this week. Travis J. Reinking surrendered to authorities in a wooded area about a mile from the site of the massacre. Reinking opened fire early Sunday morning, naked except for a green jacket, running away after an unarmed customer wrested the weapon away from him. Authorities said Reinking had a history of mental illness and had called himself “a sovereign citizen”—a term used by right-wing extremists. He was arrested in Washington, D.C., last July after entering a restricted area near the White House, telling officers that he needed to meet with President Trump. Local police seized four guns from Reinking in August, turning them over to his father. Reinking’s father said he later returned the seized weapons to his son, including the AR-15 he used in the shooting.
New York City
Fox News talk show host Sean Hannity has amassed a real-estate empire worth at least $90 million that is hidden behind a complex web of shell companies, The Guardian reported this week. Over the past decade, companies linked to Hannity have bought more than 870 homes in seven states, from luxury mansions to low-income rental apartments. Dozens of properties were purchased after banks had foreclosed on their owners in 2013. Other properties were financed with government mortgage guarantees from the Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Obama administration, leading some critics to mock the staunchly conservative host and Trump defender as “Handout Hannity.” “It is ironic that I am being attacked for investing my personal money in communities that badly need such investment,” Hannity said in a statement. He said he doesn’t trust the stock market.
Bill Cosby retrial
Jurors began deliberations this week in comedian Bill Cosby’s retrial on sexual assault charges, the first high-profile celebrity court case since the beginning of the #MeToo movement. Cosby’s first trial ended in a mistrial last year after jurors failed to come to a verdict after 52 hours of deliberations. Cosby stands accused of three counts of aggravated sexual assault against former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, who claims the comedian drugged and sexually assaulted her at his home in 2004. Unlike in the previous trial, prosecutors were allowed to call five other witnesses who had accused Cosby of similar assaults. Defense attorneys depicted Constand as “a con artist” motivated by money, while urging jurors to focus on the narrow facts of the case and not connect it to #MeToo. “Bad things definitely happen,” said Cosby lawyer Kathleen Bliss. “But, ladies and gentleman, not every accusation is true.”
Travel ban case
The Supreme Court heard arguments on President Trump’s travel ban for the first time this week, with the conservative majority appearing to side with the White House. The case, Trump v. Hawaii, concerns the third iteration of Trump’s travel ban issued last fall, which bars most travelers from eight countries from entering the U.S. Of those countries, six have Muslim majorities. Lawyers for the challengers of the federal ban argued that Trump’s campaign promise to ban all Muslims from the U.S. showed that the order was a de facto Muslim ban, violating the Constitution. But Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy peppered the challengers with tough questions about why the court should second-guess the president’s national security decisions. Roberts also asked whether there should be “a statute of limitations” on Trump’s campaign rhetoric.
VA nominee struggles
The White House physician nominated by President Trump to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs refused to drop out of consideration this week despite serious allegations about his professional conduct. The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee indefinitely postponed Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson’s nomination after receiving complaints from about 20 current and past employees of the White House medical office that he created a hostile work environment, berated junior employees, handed out sleeping and wakefulness pills to traveling White House staff “like candy,” and drank excessively on foreign trips. Multiple sources told CNN.com that the Secret Service had to intervene when a drunken Jackson started loudly pounding on a female employee’s door in the middle of the night. Trump appeared to suggest that Jackson should bow out to avoid an ugly nomination fight—“What does he need it for?” the president asked—but vowed to back him when Jackson said he wanted to fight the allegations. ■